A New Mexico lawmaker is looking to crackdown on animal abusers by making animal cruelty now a felony.

Some of New Mexico's worst animal owners may want to rethink if they want to get a new pet. New Democratic Representative Daymon Ely introduced House Bill 210, a new bill that is looking to make animal cruelty law stronger and not let people get away with horrific crimes against animals.

Rep. Daymon Ely is seeking to amend New Mexico's current animal cruelty statute to make animal cruelty that leads to injury or death a fourth degree felony. Even if the perpetrator didn't injure the dog maliciously, it would still be a fourth degree felony.

Currently, it is a misdemeanor if people starve their animals, leave them in the cold and they freeze to death, or recklessly abandon them in the desert or somewhere else. If the amendment goes through, these offenses would now be a felony. Only extreme cruelty like abuse or torture of animals is currently considered a felony.

Representative Daymon Ely told KRQE,

“It gives district attorneys the tools they need to really prosecute people for cruelty. When you have a vague statute, something that’s not clear, then defendants can argue the law isn’t clear because it’s criminal penalties."

The bill would also order people who are convicted of extreme animal cruelty go to court-mandated psychological counseling.  The bill also includes "lawful justification" for an owner or person who kills a sick or dangerous animal.

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